The Edmonton Oilers and restricted free agent forward Jesse Puljujarvi have avoided arbitration.
The Oilers and Puljujarvi have come together on a one-year, $3 million contract, according to Elliotte Friedman. The two sides were scheduled to meet in arbitration on July 29.
Jesse Puljujarvi and EDM avoid arbitration at 1 year, $3M
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 26, 2022
Puljujarvi is coming off the most productive scoring season of his young NHL career. He had an NHL career-high of 14 goals and 36 points in 65 games with the Oilers in 2021-22, and added three points (two goals, one assist) in 16 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“Certainly he played really good the first quarter of the season and then he kind of came off it, and I think it was a struggle for him, I think the last half,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said in June. “I think he lost his confidence. Then he lost his confidence, he obviously was in the top-six and he worked his way into the bottom-six.”
Puljujarvi is coming off a two-year deal in which he earned $1.175 million per year.
He’s been the subject of near-constant trade chatter since the end of the season, including one report that linked him to the Ottawa Senators four weeks ago.
Another report suggested both Puljujarvi and the team were heading towards a “fresh start” for the winger, who was the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
“Here’s what I’ve been told. Here’s my understanding. Here’s what I know. Take it how you want to. I’ll preface it by saying I like Jesse Puljujarvi. I like the person. I like the player. I think he’s going to be a good player. What type of player he becomes, we shall see,” Tom Gazzola of TSN 1260 said on the Oil Stream podcast last month.
“It sounds like, and from what I understand, the topic of a fresh start is coming up again. It’s not the Oilers just saying, ‘We’re done with Jesse Puljujarvi.’ I think there’s kind of a mutual understanding there that both sides are okay with moving on. That is the best way to describe what the situation is and what has been told to me about Jesse Puljujarvi.”
The Oilers are currently nearly $3 million over the cap following Puljujarvi’s signing, according to CapFriendly. They will receive long-term injury relief from defenceman Oscar Klefbom and goaltender Mike Smith totalling $6.367 million.
Puljujarvi will remain a restricted free agent when his contract expires next summer.
Edmonton also has restricted free agent forwards Ryan McLeod and Kailer Yamamoto left to sign. Yamamoto is scheduled to have his salary arbitration case heard on August 7.